Elderly Fraud Victim Turned Money Mule Gets Probation

An 81-year-old Kirkwood woman who fell victim to, then helped perpetuate an online "romance scam," was sentenced to five years of supervised probation yesterday in federal court. After pleading guilty to two counts of identity theft in November, she could have faced between three and four years in prison.

At some point prior to 2014, Glenda Seim was contacted by a man who claimed to be an American businessman trapped in Nigeria. Seim sent him money, and later began participated in the scheme as a “money mule,” receiving money from other victims and forwarding it to the man, who posed as an online love interest. She opened at least eight bank accounts, all used to receive ill-gotten funds.

After she pleaded guilty, Seim collaborated with authorities on a public service announcement about money mules, produced by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Secret Service and Postal Inspection Service

In the PSA, Seim shares her story of falling victim to, and later abetting, the online romance scam. Despite being warned for years by bank officials, local police and Federal law enforcement that what she was doing was illegal, Seim says she continued to be persuaded by her "love.”

"I didn't listen to anyone else but my love," Seim says in the video. "The love I have never seen or spoken to."

In a filing by prosecutors last week, federal attorneys argued for probation for Seim, citing her age and contrition. The filing also cited Seim’s PSA as sign of remorse, and cause for a lighter sentence. Despite opening herself up to potential public ridicule, Seim wanted to "present her message to others who might fall prey to the manipulation that led to her criminal conviction," the filing says.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanWKrull

About The Author

Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times. Find him on Twitter @ryanwkrull
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